If there’s something that causes a lot of dispute in the fitness world, it’s how much protein we really need to make gains, lose fat, and have an overall solid physique. If you’ve been in the fitness game long enough, then you were probably around when it was thought 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight was a good idea. This is a lot of protein – but some people would even go as far as consuming 1.5 grams per pound. While this can definitely keep you fuller for longer and help you to make progress, it’s important to note that too much protein can have a bad effect on your kidneys. It can also cause some people to bloat, depending on what type of protein they are consuming.
In reality, it’s better to have just enough protein, while making sure you’re getting enough good fats and carbs too. If you’re eating too much protein and filling up a large portion of your daily calorie allowance, whatever that may be, then you may not have enough calories left over to get in enough micronutrients, such as your five a day. Plus, what’s the harm in a little treat if it fits into your macros?
How Much Protein Do We Really Need?
You can try starting with 1.5 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight instead, if you’re sick and tired of eating so much protein. This new total should be far more manageable than the previous total. If you don’t feel this will be enough for you, you could always go to 2 grams of protein per kg of your bodyweight, and this will still be more manageable.
It’s also important to note that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t hit your protein goal one day. You won’t automatically lose gains or stop losing fat. Providing you try to hit, say, at least 1 gram of protein per kg of bodyweight, and give yourself this target each day, you should still maintain progress.
So this means that a person who weighed 70 kg would need:
- A minimum of 70 grams of protein per day.
- Ideally 105 grams of protein per day.
- A maximum of 140 grams of protein per day.
It can be helpful to some to have one number that they have to hit everyday, but by being able to be a little flexible with the numbers, many people find the goal more sustainable. You can also try to use a macro calculator like https://www.jamessmithacademy.com/macro-calculator/ to help you.
So, now you know how much protein you should be eating, what sort can you include to mix things up and make sure you’re getting a good variety? Many vegans and vegetarians may struggle to hit targets at first, but there are plenty of vegetarian meal prep ideas you can use, and it’s easy once you get the hang of it. For example, protein sources aside from lean meats include:
- Meat substitutes (Quorn, Linda Mcartney, etc)
- Edamame bean pasta
- Protein pasta
- Protein powder
So how do you get your protein?